Simply put, a “backlink” is a link to your website from an external website. They’re useful for improving a website’s search engine optimization (SEO). In other words, backlinks can improve the ranking and visibility of your law firm’s website on search engines. Though there’s a complex science behind backlinks and their effect on SEO, we’ve distilled dozens of best practices into this ultimate guide to link building for law firm websites.
In the original days of the internet, search engines just used text to rank pages. Then, keyword strategies came into play making text more complex. Next, search engines noticed that the pages which tended to be most relevant (therefore, the ones that should rank higher) tended to accumulate links. The more links a site had, the more relevant it was supposed to be. They almost work like votes in the search engine world. Then, search engines got even more sophisticated and the type of links started to matter – those that are deemed most meaningful to the content count more. And now, to complicate matters even further, the complex algorithms search engines use can rank links and deem some more popular and important. Here are 7 areas you need to understand to have a successful link building strategy. They are “quality indicators” that determine how good a backlink is.
The highest quality links come from sites that are relevant to yours. For example, a journal article citing one of your attorneys is more relevant than a cooking blog that one of your lawyers submitted to. Relevant links are typically produced by pages that genuinely solve a problem. Landing pages that are framed as a solution will be pointed to more often. The broader the topics you attempt to get backlinks in, the less relevant the links will be.
You’ll get better results if the websites that link to yours are more highly ranked. Stronger sites mean stronger results. That information can be hard to obtain, but there are third-party tools that can help you research page rank and authority, such as Moz Link Explorer.
Do your own research to understand how authoritative the website is before you seek out backlinks from them. Third party metrics can be manipulated so you can’t always count on the authority from the information above. Carefully examine the link profile of any opportunities.
It’s a smart tactic to obtain links from websites that get a lot of their own traffic, to increase your referral traffic. You can use a tool like SEM Rush to find out more about a certain website’s traffic statistics.
Just like everything in business, supply and demand plays a role. The harder a backlink is to obtain, the more valuable it probably is. If websites are just handing out links to any website, their standards are low and that means bad things for the quality of your backlinks. Aim high for better results.
Outbound link quality
Like attracts like, and the online world is no different. Websites with strong editorial guidelines will be choosy about whom they link to. It’s important that the link to your website “lives” around other outbound links that are of a high quality. For any prospective backlinking website, take a close look at what else they are linking to, and how relevant those links are.
This is a somewhat common sense point, but you’d be surprised how many people forget this. Before you do anything, go to Google and search for the website. If the prospective website isn’t showing up, you don’t want a backlink on there. Only indexed websites can help your own website.
As a legal marketer, you should be wary of backlinks from websites that don’t meet the quality standards above. Poor backlink strategies won’t move you further up in Google’s ranking. Furthermore, unethical ways of link building, such as purchasing links from a link farm, is deemed a black hat SEO tactic and can get your law firm website de-indexed or banned from a search engine. That being said, if you follow this guide to link building for law firm websites, you’ll be well on your way to ramping up SEO efforts. If you need assistance developing a comprehensive SEO strategy that will improve your search visibility and increase the number of visitors to your firm’s website, contact us for assistance.